...but I wanted to solve a problem. To put it very simply, it was the problem of suffering, and it still is. This seems to me the most important problem, in fact the only problem which one should be engaged with: in art as in life, what is suffering and what is the key to alleviating it? It leads back to Buddhism. Buddha is famous of course for proposing just such a solution and it seems his whole life was engaged in the Bodhisattva mission of alleviating suffering, bringing enlightenment and releasing all beings, all living beings from samsara, the world of suffering. Be that as it may, I certainly felt that this more objective music was in the direction of moving away from this fascinating world of samsara, of suffering, in which we are interminably caught and upon which art endlessly meditates.That was Jonathan Harvey speaking to Arnold Whittall in 1999. Jonathan’s path towards the Buddhist pure land, which he expressed so eloquently in his Fourth Quartet, has progressed further with his release from samsara and passing at the age of seventy-three. In Tibetan Buddhism - a tradition that meant so much to Jonathan - a Bodhisattva is a sentient being who is motivated by compassion and seeks enlightenment not only for themselves but also for everyone. Others will write eloquently of Jonathan Harvey’s contribution as a great composer. I can only write clumsily of his contribution as a great mind – a Bodhisattva mind even - that found expression in great music.
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